Said Paul Milsap: "I guess, getting behind. I guess that's what it takes to show all our talents."
The Jazz got behind while the Magic were getting it from behind. Utah put on a 24-2 run between the third and fourth quarters and then outscored Orlando 39-20 in the fourth to win 104-94, completing a staggering 28-point turnaround. On the road. Against a supposed contender. On the second night of back-to-backs. After beating the Super Friends of South Beach.
Said Stan Van Gundy: "Ridiculous professional basketball."
By ridiculous, SVG must be referring to the 25 points his team gave up off 21 turnovers (including 6 TOs for Dwight Howard). Or maybe it was the 11 missed free throws (including 8 by Pumaman). Or maybe it was the defense, which, well, yeah.
Bonus bawful from reader William W.:
Watching Jazz vs Magic out of the corner of my eye, with ~3:50 left in the fourth quarter Rashard Lewis drove to the basket and then kicked out to the corner for a three... but the pass bounced off the legs of one of his teammates on the bench who was half standing up. Best part, the intended recipient (Redick I think) was wearing a towel. Cut to Stan Van Gundy mouthing "you've got to be f***ing kidding me". When the Magic were next on the offensive end Redick had a warm-up jacket on.
Jerry Sloan, quote machine: "Improbable? We're supposed to be able to play. It wasn't probably, it was just a matter of trying to come and play and worry about what happened later."
Also, regarding whether Miami-Orlando was the toughest back-to-back road combination the Jazz could have faced:
"You mean because of the weather? It's a 20-minute flight. It's not so bad."
Have I mentioned I have a man crush on this crotchety old bastard?
Carlos Boozer: From Basketbawful reader Stockton:
Utah's Paul Millsap is one of three players in the league averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. Millsap is posting a team-high 24 points and 10.9 boards per outing, joining Howard and the Lakers’ Pau Gasol in the esteemed category.
As for Boozer, he leads the league in injuries caused by bags.
The Atlanta Hawks: Okay. Where are all those "Don't forget about the Hawks!" articles and blog posts now?
There's no sugarcoating this one: The Bucks flat out pummeled the Dirty Birds. Milwaukee won the second quarter 33-14. The Bucks' reserves outscored Atlanta's bench 35-6...in the first half. Milwaukee led by as many as 30 points and the Hawks had to outscore them 32-20 in the fourth quarter to make the final score (108-91) simply "humiliating and pathetic" instead of "totally retarded."
By the way: The game was in Atlanta.
Said Al Horford: "It's hard to explain. I don't understand what happened."
Added Josh Smith: "When adversity hit us in the face, we went our separate ways."
And Hawks coach Larry Drew said: "When it gets a little tough, we have a tendency to hold our heads down. I don't want to see our guys hang their heads."
Uh oh. Is somebody going to warn him or should I?
Joe Johnson: The line: 13 points, 5-for-13, 0-for-3 from downtown, 2 rebounds, 3 assists. The contract: Six year, $119 million.
The Houston Rockets: TWO MEN ENTER. ONE MAN LEAVES.
The Rockets and Wizards Generals had their own Short Bus version of the Thunderdome last night. Houston was 1-5 and Washington was 1-4. Somebody was coming out of this with two wins...and somebody wasn't.
The Rockets were the wasn'ts.
John Wall went into Rookie God Mode (19 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds, 6 steals) and poor Yao Ming -- SHOCK ALERT! -- got injured (strained tendon) six minutes and 14 seconds into the game. The Rockets shot 39 percent, gave up 25 fast break points and further tarnished the money ball genius of Daryl Morey.
Said Rick Adelman: "I was disappointed again. Every game we've had this year -- except for the one we won -- right down to the fourth quarter, we have a chance to win, and we don't get it done."
The Celebration of Chinese Heritage: From Basketbawful reader Myles N.:
Watching the Wizards game? Asian Heritage Night makes for pretty funny commentary.
During a commercial break they did a tiny piece on 'Dray learning more about Yi's "culture" by going to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. I'm not sure how familiar you are with "Chinatown" in DC - but it's pretty much two blocks. So this is already a little funny for me. They then cut to show 'Dray and Yi sitting down and eating together, and the narrator drops a choice quote - "This kinda reminds me of Rush Hour!".
The Toronto Raptors: TWO MEN ENTER. ONE MAN LEAVES.
There was another Thunderdome brewing in Toronto last night as the 1-6 Bobcats took on the 1-6 Craptors for the rights to a 1-7 record.
Well, the Craptors "won" that right.
Toronto actually kept it close by scoring 36 points on the fast break. Of course, they gave up 21 points off 17 turnovers. The most costly turnover came at the end. With the 'Cats holding a three-point lead and only five seconds to go, Stephen Jackson stripped the ball from Andrea Bargnani. And that was Game Over.
Andrea Bargnani: "I lost the ball. There's no more to describe. He tipped it away."
The Cleveland Cavaliers: There were some feel-good vibes going down in Cleveland. And why not? The so-called Unamazing Cavaliers had defied the early-season odds by opening the year 4-3 and leading the Central Division. The Nyets came into the game riding one of the longest November losing streaks in league history.
So naturally, the Cavs -- playing at home -- lost.
What can I say? It was a close game. Mo Williams got hurt (again) and Devin Harris was really good (31 points, 9 assists). The Cavs gave up 15 offensive boards and 35 free throw attempts.
The New York Knicks: Throw in a classic revenge game for David Lee (28 points, 11-for-17, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists) and a mind-boggling 74 points in the paint and you have a pretty standard 122-117 homecourt loss for Mike 'Antoni's Bricks.
That's three losses in a row for New York.
Said Amar''''''e Stoudemire: "We just can't get comfortable with losing. That's the mentality that we can't have. So we've got to make sure that we understand how important it is to look at film and look at ourselves in the mirror and try to improve individually, and then ultimately we'll get better as a team. Hopefully we all as players will understand that and move on."
Speaking of STAT...
Amar''''''e Stoudemire: In many ways, Sun Tzu or whatever he calls himself had his best game of the season: 33 points, 9-for-15 from the field, 10 rebounds. But he was also the heart of an interior defense that gave up 74 points.
I'm just sayin'.
The Philadelphia 76ers: The Sixers were without Andre Iguodala (Achilles tendinitis) and Jason Kapono (personal reasons), yet they still managed to play tough on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. In fact, Philly was down only 99-96 with 2:35 to play and seemed poised for a key defensive stop considering the Thunder had to inbound the ball with only one second left on the shot clock.
Well, one second and one Thabo Sefolosha lob pass to Russell Westbrook later, the Sixers' wills were pretty much broken. That's been Philly's season. Mental lapses, communication breakdowns, sloppy play. Hey, who's coaching these guys, anyway?
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate, Part 1: "We've just got to be better in those crucial situations, and let's not take anything away. Durant's the leading scorer in the league and Westbrook is unbelievable, so it's not like we got beat by two guys who aren't great, great players. These guys won gold medals this summer."
Doug Collins, coach of the year candidate, Part 2: "Basketball is a game of mistakes but you have to minimize them under pressure. We had a couple turnovers, loose with the ball, and then those two critical [plays] -- the three-point play and then Scotty Brooks drew up a great play, and we did not communicate."
Lou Williams: Let's see: 6 points on 2-for-11 shooting including 1-for-5 from beyond the arc. Oh, and Philly got outscored by 12 when he was on the floor.
The Memphis Grizzlies: What did Memphis coach Lionel Hollins think about his team's 106-91 home loss to the Mavericks: "Even if you are shooting 20 percent, you can still compete by playing defense, rebounding and make the other team have one less point than you. You can't just quit and not compete."
"It's just one in 82 [games]. You try to win as many as you can. You try not to have a whole lot of these stinkers. That's what this was. A stinker."
For the record, Dallas shot 54 percent, scored 18 fast break points and led by as many as 21 points. Shawn Marion had a "back in my Phoenix days" performance with 20 points on 10-for-15 shooting and Jason Terry hit for 25 on 11-for-16 from the field. Hell, Brian Cardinal even had 5 points.
And, sweet baby Jesus, I know this will end up on the lacktion report but Hasheem Thabeet had a six trillion! I love this game!
Rick Carlisle, quote machine: "This guy is so tough, it is ridiculous."
Carlisle was talking about Dirk Nowitzki. No, really.
Dirk Nowitzki, pain management specialist: "It's usually the initial pain that hurts a little bit."
Initial pain hurts a little. Not always. But usually.
The Los Angeles Clippers: No Eric Gordon (shoulder). No Chris Kaveman (sprained ankle, painful ugliness). No Baron Davis (fat). No Randy Foyes.
Still, The Other L.A. Team kept the game reasonable close despite playing on the road against a good team. They were down only 95-90 with a few minutes to go when the camera panned to Vinny Del Negro calmly drawing up a play during a timeout with seemingly nobody looking on. If that's not Game Over, I don't know what is.
Check out this little snippet from the AP recap:
Injuries have decimated the Clippers, who are off to another horrendous start for the woebegone franchise. They fell to 1-8, so far showing no signs of the playoff potential that first-year coach Vinny Del Negro felt he had.
Vinny Del Negro + the Clippers = No playoffs ever.
Blake Griffin, quote machine, Part 1: "It's not like we're going out there and giving up. It's tough. We've already lost more games than we lost my last year in college, and [Oklahoma] played almost three time the amount of games we've played."
Welcome to the Clippers, Blake.
Blake Griffin, quote machine, Part 2: "We got five guys hurt. It's weird; we came out of the locker to warm up and it was like half our team out there. It's like going into a battle with half your guys."
Again, welcome to the Clippers, Blake.
Blake Griffin: 11 points on 18 shot attempts.
And once again, welcome to the Clippers, Blake.
Richard Jefferson, unintentionally dirty quote machine: "You look at Manu [Ginobili] and Tony [Parker]; they have the balls in their hand the majority of the game."
The Sacramento Kings: The morbidly depressing Timberwolves -- losers of six straight games -- brought their fail wagon to Sacramento to take on the previously 3-1 Purple Paupers. Minny was 0-5 on the road and playing the second night of back-to-back roadies following a tough loss to the Lakers.
This shoulda been a gimmie, right?
Instead, the Sactowners fell victim to a career night by Michael Beasley: 42 points on 17-for-31 shooting (including 7-for-10 from the line) to go with 9 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Sebastian Telfair -- yes, Bassy's still alive -- added 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting and Darko Milicic even submitted a near double-double (9 points, 8 boards).
Meanwhile, the Paupers shanked 12 free throws and surrendered 25 points off 19 turnovers. But hey, at least they held the T-Wolves to zero fast break points. So they have that going for them, which is nice.
Tyreke Evans: Wow. Rough night for the Freak: A season-low 5 points on 1-for-5 shooting to go with 9 assists and 5 turnovers. He even airballed a free throw attempt in the third quarter. Oh, and he fouled out with 9:02 left in the fourth.
Said Evans: "I just couldn't get into a rhythm; it was hard to play with foul trouble and coming out of the game. They were playing good defense and making me pass the ball."
Whaaaaa...? A point guard passing the ball?! Unheard of!
Watching Darko is something everyone needs to do at least once this year. He's the Mona Lisa of bawful. Just truly terrible to watch.
Example: Darko grabbed an offensive rebound against the Paupers and immediately turned the ball over. The ball wasn't stolen or anything. Darko tried to pass the ball, but he threw it to no one. And I mean, there was none of his teammates near the general vicinity where Darko was passing the ball.
Paul Westphal, coach of the year candidate: "Obviously Michael Beasley was someone we didn't have any success at all guarding tonight. We tried pretty much everything we could try, and he had the answer [for them all]."
"Kevin Garnett will not -- will not -- get a Christmas gift from me. I don't like him."
"He's a very mean guy. Where's the love? None at all. Ugly, too."
"I had his poster in my room, I used to wear his jersey. And the truth is my rookie year, I was in admiration of this guy, and he kind of shut me down."
"And he was very mean to me my rookie year. And he's only mean to the young guys and the [European players], for some reason. I don't know why, but that's who he doesn't like. He's not nice. I talk a lot of trash out there, but c'mon, be a little sensitive. Be sweet."
Yeah. It's always a good idea to give the Celtics bulletin board material.
Chris's Lacktion Report:
Bucks-Hawks: Jarron Collins avoided pure lacktivity in 10:21 with an assist, but fouled and lost the rock three times each for a 6:0 Voskuhl.
Jazz-Magic: For the bebop cowboys, Francisco Elson treated them to a ledger appearance by countering a board in 5:11 with two fouls for a 2:1 Voskuhl. Meanwhile, fellow improviser Gordon Hayward bricked and fouled once in 4:10 for a +2 suck differential.
Bobcats-Raptors: DeSagana Diop dropped into Voskuhl territory again by negating one block in 3:58 with a foul, earning a 1:0 Madsen-level ratio.
Rockets-Generals: Hilton Armstrong asked room service to unmake his two boards in 9:29, and two fouls with one giveaway certainly undid a mildly productive night with a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Nets-Cavs: Quinton Ross's +3 in 4:50 via two bricks and a foul actually worked out for a celebratory cause, along with Joe Smith's 4.35 trillion and Damion James's 36 second Mario.
Warriors-Knicks: Timofey Mozgov moseyed into the ledger by countering a 100% free throw percentage (on two shots) in 1:59 with 3 fouls for a 3:2 Voskuhl.
Mavs-Grizzlies: For Mark Cuban's collective, Ian Mahinmi had himself a +1 via foul in 3:52, also earning a 1:0 Voskuhl. Speaking of riches, former #2 overall pick Hahseem Thabeet found a gold mine worth 5.85 trillion (5:52)!
Sixers-Thunder: Cole Aldrich came into tonight's game ready to play some defense, and he did do so with two boards in 9:04. He lalso however fouled four times and lost the rock thricely for a 7:4 Voskuhl!
Clippers-Spurs: Chris Quinn continues to be the lacktive good luck charm for Gregg Popivch - with San Antonio not only 3-0 in his appearances, but richer tonight with a 1.2 trillion (1:11)!